Male Wage Inequality and Marital Dissolution: Is There a Link?
AbstractAfter almost a century-long pattern of rising marital instability, divorce rates leveled off in 1980 and have been declining ever since. The timing of deceleration and decline in the rates of marital disruption interestingly coincides with a period of substantial growth in wage inequality. This paper establishes a connection between the two phenomena and explores potential explanations for the underlying link. Using individual data on female marital histories in a duration analysis framework combined with regional and temporal variation in the pattern of male wage dispersion, I show that inequality has a significant stabilizing effect on the marital relationship. Quantitatively, increases in male wage dispersion can roughly explain up to 30% of the fall in the mean separation probability between 1979 and 1990. Several plausible explanations for this relationship are assessed: changes in spousal labor supplies, female wage inequality, income uncertainty, social capital as well as a hypothesis of "on-the-marriage" search. The results are most supportive of the search interpretation. No strong quantitative support was found for the remaining mechanisms.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7331.
Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007.
"Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
- Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," NBER Working Papers 12944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," IZA Discussion Papers 2602, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and divorce: changes and their driving forces," Working Paper Series 2007-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," CEPR Discussion Papers 6144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Gregory D. Hess, 2001.
"Marriage and consumption insurance: what's love got to do with it?,"
0104, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
- Gregory D. Hess, 2004. "Marriage and Consumption Insurance: What's Love Got to Do with It?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 290-318, April.
- Gregory D. Hess, 2001. "Marriage and Consumption Insurance: What’s Love Got to do With It?," CESifo Working Paper Series 507, CESifo Group Munich.
- Gregory D. Hess, 2002. "Marriage and Consumption Insurance: What's Love Got To Do With It?," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-15, Claremont Colleges.
- Hey, John D & McKenna, Chris J, 1979. "To Move or Not to Move?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 46(182), pages 175-85, May.
- Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding the American Decline in Social Capital, 1952--1998," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 17-46, February.
- Martha J Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320, 02.
- Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
- Joshua Goldstein, 1999. "The leveling of divorce in the united states," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 409-414, August.
- Chiswick, Carmel U & Lehrer, Evelyn L, 1990. "On Marriage-Specific Human Capital: Its Role as a Determinant of Remarriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 193-213, October.
- Terra G. McKinnish, 2007. "Sexually Integrated Workplaces and Divorce: Another Form of On-the-Job Search," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
- Frankel, D.M., 1996.
"The (Retail) Price of Inequality,"
23-96, Tel Aviv.
- David M. Frankel, 2000. "The Retail Price of Inequality," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0577, Econometric Society.
- Frankel, David M. & Gould, Eric, 2001. "The Retail Price of Inequality," Staff General Research Papers 11922, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Johnson, William R & Skinner, Jonathan, 1986. "Labor Supply and Marital Separation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 455-69, June.
- Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
- Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens, 2004.
"Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 489-522, April.
- Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2012. "A Matter of Weight? The Role of Spouses. Physical Attractiveness on Hours of Work," CHILD Working Papers Series 7, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.